Scrapping of EU’s ‘Vnuk’ Off-road Vehicle Insurance Law

22 /Feb

On February 21 2021, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the UK government’s intention to scrap the EU’s motor insurance law known as the Vnuk law, lifting a potential burden on the UK leisure and motorsport industries and saving each British motorist an estimated £50 per year. [1]

Following a 2007 accident involving a tractor, which led to the injury of a Slovenian farm worker, Mr Vnuk, on private farmland, Mr Vnuk brought a claim against the insurance company providing the compulsory insurance required of such off-road vehicles in Slovenia.  Although initially rejected by Slovenian courts, the European Court of Justice ruled in his favour, in 2014. [2]

This led to an EU law that decreed off-road motorised ‘vehicles’, such as golf buggies, Segways, quad bikes, track bikes, motocross bikes, mobility scooters and ride-on lawnmowers, should have their own compulsory Third Party motor insurance policy with unlimited liability, despite being used only on private land.  Any collision involving an off-road vehicle was to be treated as a typical on-road motor accident, with a cost to the insurance industry of around £2 billion per year.  The implications for sports such as Formula 1 were significant.

Following Britain’s leaving of the EU, the government has agreed with lobbyists from insurance bodies and the motorsports industry about the lack of need for the Vnuk law.  The requirement for such motor insurance protection on private land has been deemed “unnecessary” in the UK and the law has been described as “over-the-top” by the Transport Secretary.

The Association of British Insurers has welcomed the decision, also feeling that compliance monitoring and enforcement would have been extremely difficult, with the possibility of fraudulent claims was another potential issue. [3]

Whilst the new insurance cover will not be required, those operating such motorised vehicles can protect themselves from liability risks by purchasing Public Liability insurance and Employers Liability insurance.  The availability of these covers in the UK was one reason why the EU legislation was deemed so unnecessary.

Having such insurances in place is important for many leisure businesses, including quad bike and off-road activity leisure firms and golf clubs who operate equipment such as ride-on lawnmowers and golf buggies.  Many accidents each year occur with golf buggies, so having liability cover in place is essential.  Incidents are still a real possibility, despite the separate Vnuk law not being required.

If you need help with buying the insurance protection you require for your leisure business’s off-road motorised vehicles, then please get in touch.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-plan-to-scrap-eu-law-ensuring-british-drivers-avoid-50-a-year-insurance-hike

[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/962335/vnuk-impact-analysis-executive-summary.pdf

[3] https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2021/02/abi-welcomes-plan-to-scrap-controversial-eu-vnuk-motor-insurance-law/

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